Monday, April 4th, 2011

Introducing the Authors and Series views in Your books

Among the many things LibraryThing is—book recommendations, social networking and so forth—LibraryThing started out and and is a kick-ass tool for organizing your books. But we’re not resting on our laurels. There are things we can improve, and things we can add. This is one. Another one goes to the Beta group today.

This weekend I added a feature to see authors and series within the “Your library” tab, and as “first class things,” like books and tags, not just a field within books.

Access to the Authors and Series view can be found to the right of the Tags view. Click the little divot to show other views. (Yes, others are planned.)

Switching to Authors or Series view changes the bar:

Below that, the page changes to a list authors or series, with links to see them in your catalog or go to their stand-alone author or series pages.

The feature was introduced incrementally. There’s a Talk conversation that tracks that. Now that the feature is largely working and possibly complete, I’ve started another Talk conversation. Come let us me what you think.

Labels: authors, new feature, new features, series

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Introducing the LibraryThing-e, an ereader from LibraryThing

The LibraryThing-e offers easy access to all commonly-used LibraryThing functions.

After more than a year of development we are ready to unveil the “LibraryThing-e,” an ebook reader from LibraryThing. Built in a friendly and fruitful partnership with Amazon, the LibraryThing-e reader includes all your favorite LibraryThing features, and is a fully-functioning ereader designed from the ground up for hard-core bibliophiles.

Features include:

  • Read books on a high-contrast E Ink screen, good for reading in bright light or shade.
  • Download new books with built-in Wifi and 3G connections.
  • LibraryThing-e’s patented “LikeaBook®” casing feels like fine morocco leather and emits a faint “old book” smell.
  • Access Your books, Profile and Talk sections of the LibraryThing website, with special ereader-enhanced version of Tagwatch.
  • The LibraryThing-e reference collection includes special editions of the American Heritage Dictionary and the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Second Edition.
  • Though a ground-breaking arrangement with most publishers, the LibraryThing-e comes pre-installed with up to 200 of your LibraryThing books already scanned in; HarperCollins titles are restricted to a 26-page sample.
  • Docks easily with the CueCat barcode scanner (included).
  • Import books from a variety of other devices, including the Nookmooch® and GoodReader® platforms.
  • Water-repellent.
  • Text-to-Speech option with a choice of voices, including American voices (“Tim” and “Abby”) and an Australian option (“John”). “Zoë” is available as an expansion.
  • Most books are available in more than 12 languages, including French, Dutch, Catalan and Latin.
  • Built-in geolocation and our Readar™ technology matches your library with that of other LibraryThing-e readers nearby. A special expanded “Unsuggester” feature tells you where your reading-nemesis is at all times.
  • Comes in two colors: “LibraryThing Brown” and “Original Greige.” “Abby Maroon” is backordered.
  • All features are optional.

Best of all, the LibraryThing-e will begin shipping in two weeks!

Labels: barcode scanners, ebooks

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

March State of the Thing

This month’s State of the Thing, LibraryThing’s monthly newsletter of features, author interviews and various forms of bookish delight, is on its way to your inbox, if it hasn’t arrived already. You can also read it online.

For our author interviews this month, I talked to much-acclaimed debut novelist Téa Obreht about The Tiger’s Wife, recently published by Random House. Find out what inspired this haunting tale, learn about Obreht’s writing practices, and find out where she picked up some Hemingway first editions! Read the full interview.

I also had the chance to interview Charles Cumming, whose fourth spy novel The Trinity Six is just out from St. Martin’s Press. I asked how he got interested in the Cambridge Spy Ring, which spy he liked best, and what books on Cold War espionage he recommends. Read the full interview.

Read previous State of the Thing newsletters:

If you don’t get State of the Thing, you can add it in your email preferences. You also have to have an email address listed.

Labels: state of the thing

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

New Legacy Libraries!

I’m happy to announce the completion of a Legacy Library quartet: Herman Melville, Jeff Buckley, Gustave Flaubert, and Daniel Webster!

The four share just one work in common: Homer’s Odyssey.*

Thanks to LTers thornton37814, benjclark, cbl_tn (Melville), claudiadias, Kuiperdolin (Flaubert), Sammiwithani (Buckley), and Christa_Josh (Webster) for their work on these collections!

*At present. With work combinations, &c., this could change, of course.

Labels: legacy libraries

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

LibraryThing is hiring (non-technical)

2007 Halloween book pile winner by member Bluesky1963

LibraryThing is hiring again—a relatively junior position, with room to advance and grow. We’re looking for someone smart and organized to help out with the customer support side of the quickly growing LibraryThing for Libraries.

You must be:

  • Able to write quickly and well
  • Organized as all get-out
  • Able to juggle multiple tasks efficiently and with humor
  • Extremely comfortable with computers
  • Able to work independently and communicate effectively

We’d appreciate:

  • A Library or Information Sciences Degree
  • Experience in libraries or library “industry”
  • Technical skills (HTML, CSS, MySQL, etc.)
  • Customer-service or sales experience
  • Mac lover
  • Love of cheese


  • Assist Abby with LibraryThing for Libraries
  • Provide customer support to libraries
  • Attend trade shows
  • Learn whatever we need you to learn
  • Think creatively and suggest improvements
  • Whatever else is needed. We are still a startup so “duties” are fluid.


Boston, MA or Portland, ME area strongly preferred. If we get enough applications we will probably not look at others–no offense.


Salary plus gold-plated health and dental insurance. We require hard work, but we are flexible about hours.

How to apply:

Email and resume is good. Don’t send a separate cover letter. In your email, please go through the bullets above, explaining briefly how they do or don’t fit you.

Send emails to

[Update, 4/21/11: We’re reviewing applications now; further submissions are not being considered at this time. Thanks for your interest!]
[Update, 5/12/11: We’ve made our hire, look for an announcement soon!]

Labels: employees, employment, jobs

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Books in Space!

A small band of intrepid catalogers (benjclark, JBD1, 2wonderY, staffordcastle, and katya0133) did a mini-flash-mob catalog project this week that was out of this world … literally!*

Working from a list of books aboard the International Space Station in 2008, we were able to create a LibraryThing catalog for the space station’s leisure library (and since then we’ve been able to add some additional books from articles which mention books brought by visitors to the station). We’re definitely on the lookout for other books aboard the ISS (I even tweeted the station commander), so if you know of any, please let us know!

I have to say my favorite among the titles is Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days

* Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

Labels: flash mob, flash-mob cataloging

Monday, March 7th, 2011

March Early Reviewers Batch is up!

The March 2011 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 110 books this month, and a grand total of 2,914 copies to give out. It’s our largest ER batch ever!
First, make sure to sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing address and make sure it’s correct.
Then request away! The list of available books is here:
The deadline to request a copy is Monday, March 28th at 6 p.m. EST.
Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, and many other countries. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.
Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

HarperCollins Childrens Books WaterBrook Press W.W. Norton
Hyperion and Voice University of Iowa Press Taylor Trade Publishing
Del Rey Mulholland Books Goose Lane
St. Martin’s Press McFarland Doubleday Books
McBooks Press Tradewind Books Langdon Street Press
The Permanent Press Red Telephone Books Skyhorse Publishing
Aro Books worldwide DK Publishing Sterling Publishing
Human Kinetics Harper Paperbacks Nolo
Random House The Dial Press Zed Books
MSI Press Spiegel & Grau South Dakota State Historical Society Press
Ballantine Books Plume Rovira i Virgili University Press
Bell Bridge Books Bloomsbury Orca Book Publishers
BookViewCafe Bethany House Putnam Books
Chosen Books St. Martin’s Minotaur Riverhead Books
Bantam Dell Unbridled Books Penguin Young Readers Group
Cascada Productions Sole Books Blackbird Ventures
A & N Publishing St. Martin’s Griffin Crown Publishing
Saqi Books Kube Publishing HighBridge
Demos Health Souper Publishing Sovereign
Nimbus Publishing Seriously Good Books

Labels: early reviewers, publishers

Friday, March 4th, 2011

“Tag Mirror” is back!

The much-loved, long-suspended “Tag Mirror” feature is back!

Your tag mirror is like your tag clouds, except that instead of seeing what you’ve tagged your books it shows what other members have tagged them. Sidelined because of speed problem, a series of database changes have made it viable again, without without extra caching. It’s not instant, but few users will find the speed insupportable.

Check it out:

And here’s the original blog post from back in 2007.

Labels: tag mirror, tagging, tags

Monday, February 28th, 2011

February State of the Thing

This month’s State of the Thing, LibraryThing’s monthly newsletter of features, author interviews and various forms of bookish delight, should have arrived in your email inbox now! You can also read it online.

This month I talked to memoirist Wendy Burden about her book Dead End Gene Pool, just out in paperback from Gotham Books. I asked her about her collecting habits, her bookshelves, and her next book. Read the full interview.

We also have an interview with translator Alexander O. Smith about his recent translation of Keigo Higashino’s The Devotion of Suspect X and the translation process in particular. Many thanks to the LTers who assisted with this interview! Read the interview.

Read previous State of the Thing newsletters:

If you don’t get State of the Thing, you can add it in your email preferences. You also have to have an email address listed.

Labels: state of the thing

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Bookpile contest winners picked!

We’re now ready to announce the winners of our Non-English bookpiles contest, but before I do that, I need to first award the prizes for what is definitely the longest-running bookpile contest in LibraryThing history.

The winner of the 30-million book/LT’s 3rd birthday bookpile contest (yes, we’re now almost at 60 million books and have just passed the 5.5-year mark) is Flickr member asperschlager for “Colorful Book Pile.” Email me to claim your prizes (a CueCat, an LT t-shirt, and a gift membership. Please email me ( to claim your prize.

LTer kristenmm takes the runner-up prize for her book pile, which contains “titles that I think describe LT itself, its users, employees, or features.” Email me to claim your gift membership, and we’re going to send along a t-shirt too.

Thanks to all those who submitted entries, and we do apologize for the delay. Better late than never, right?

Now, on to the main event! We asked members to submit images of non-English bookpiles, for use on the homepages of the various language versions of LibraryThing (from Dutch and Catalan to Russian and Japanese).

We received more than 100 excellent entries via Flickr (browse the photostream) and in members’ LT galleries, covering at least 23 separate languages (plus polyglot). See the full list of languages here.

The winning images, as well as selected other submissions for each language, will go into a rotation on the homepage, so that visitors and members might see a different image each time the page is loaded. We’ll be doing something similar for the main site as well. When we launch the new sites, they’ll look a little something like this (the Swedish site):

Now: the list of winners! If your name is here, please send me an email or a profile message (jbd1) with your choice of either CueCat or LT t-shirt (and if t-shirt, whether you’d prefer black or red, and what size), and your mailing address. If you won more than once, you can have a combination of your choosing!

I’ve linked the language name to the winning picture:

We had a few entries in other languages that were out of focus just wouldn’t work for the homepage piles; we’d still like to have images for these and the rest of the languages, so please feel free to send along additional bookpile pictures! If we end up using them, we’ll send along a t-shirt.

And finally, the overall winner, claimant of both a CueCat and a t-shirt, is elfo, for the beautiful Spanish book pile at left.

Thanks to everyone for your entries, and we’ll let you know when the new homepage versions go live!

Labels: book pile, contests, cuecat